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  CSPAN    American Politics    News/Business. The day's  
   top public-policy events.  

    July 10, 2011
    6:30 - 8:00pm EDT  

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senator mitch mcconnell echoed the house speaker's remarks. it has been tied to the plan to allowing the nation's debt ceiling to increase. the deadline for that has been set for august 2, when the government will go into default. you can follow the latest on the meeting with congressional leaders at the white house, happening right now, on the c- span network. >> who is really going to get fired up over nancy pelosi on one hand or john boehner on the other hand? there is an incredibly narrow range of choice that we actually have any elected officials. >> editor in chief nick gillespie takes on the problems of today's two-party system and possible libertarian solutions, tonight on c-span q&a.
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>> now, conversation on the impact of the deficit talks on the democrats. this is about 40 minutes. campaign 2012. >> "washington journal" continues. host: andrew bauman is with us. the latest news about the house speaker's announcement that it wants to scale down the scope of the budget talks and change the target number, what do you think democrats will do? guest: i think this is probably politically good news for the democrats. the reason this is hard to get a bigger deal is because both sides need to make tough political choices. the democrats would have had to
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do bigger entitlement cuts. you could see nancy pelosi's reaction to this. the fact that democrats don't like at that -- have to take about and this is good news. the larger issue for democrats is when it comes to fiscal issues, democrats enter the debate with a lack of credibility. they had been seen as the party of big spending in government. right now, voters are in a position where they want to see less spending. one gets down to specifics, they are more on the side of democrats. the paul ryan plan is very unpopular but the measures the democrats propose like increasing taxes on the wealthy and ending subsidies for corporations is very popular the democrats need to reach a credibility threshold on fiscal issues. they need to be willing to say
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that we need more government accountability. if they can agree to a down payment and get a boat on the record of cutting spending, it helps them reach that far. they want to move to a larger debate where the public is on their side about priorities and what is the next step. they want to from that republicans want to eliminate medicare for those under 55. they can cut some things that will affect the middle class since seniors but we want to end the subsidies for oil companies and the jets owners. if they can get bear rather than debate about cutting spending more or less, going into 2012, there will be a good position. host: let's look at this from "the washington post" -- let's talk about the idea of the
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present willing to boost taxes. both sides have a different way of talking about taxes. bring us through what the polls say. guest: no one wants their own taxes increase. d. nobody says they support higher taxes. voters think dead any deal should incluse -- include some tax increases. in a gallup poll, they asked if taxes on certain groups are too
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high or too low? the middle class thought the taxes were way too high and on the wealthy, it was a 40% margin. voters think taxes should be part of the deal and they want tax increases this of the great on the wealthy and corporations. 75% support letting certain tax cuts and expired. voters think we should take these steps in addition to killing spending. speaker john boehner is putting them cells outside the mainstream public opinion. host: your of the vice president at greenberg a desk quinlan quinlan. voters do not think anyone can solve the profound economic problems.
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guest: yes, voters are very cynical. they clearly rejected republicans in 2010. we see that republicans have continued to lose credibility but democrats have not seen an increase. it is a pox on both houses. we asked who will do a better job on the economy and the deficit. 40% say one thing but we have seen a huge increase in nither. they say everyone is doing a bad job. host: this article goes on to say that looking at this particular bulk of the electorate which to call the rising american electorate, on married women,
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younger voters, -- guest: ever be the focus is on independen \ts. these are the voters that turned out in record numbers in 2008 and supported obama by huge margins. while democrats need to win independence over, they need to excite the rae and boost their margins. if they win independence, they will not get what they need to do. democrats need to address the metal electorate -- the middle electorate. what we have seen in our polling, president obama has been trying to make the case for a long time that things are getting better.
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he uses the analogy that the republicans drove a car into the ditch and he is trying to get it out. only 35% of voters think the economy is getting better. we'll see a rising number of people in our survey saying that they are losing income. these voters are feeling hammered by the economy. they want to hear present obama and democrats talk about the future and what their plans are to change things and get the middle class to keep jobs and moving overseas. that is a big issue for them and it changes the political structure in washington. they see lobbyists and special interest getting the breaks. democrats really need to address these concerns for these voters. host: york firm says it is about
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the message. -- your firm says it is about the message. guest: it is difficult. democrats and president obama made really tough choices. they have helped somewhat. most major economists say they have prevented a much greater recession. and have jumped -- and prevented jobs employment -- job unemployment from jumping higher. i think obama has done a good job and the economy would be much worse off if he did not take steps but voters don't want to hear that. host: let's go to the phones.
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dallas, texas, independent line, good morning. caller: the real problem with the democratic party is that we have a president who basically can't confront and cannot fight and therefore there is no such thing as negotiations from a position of strength. the democratic party to come up with someone to run against obama next year. guest: i feel your frustration. people have felt that president obama as often negotiated with himself. himself. they feel the present obama is the standard bearer. about thes talk presidential candidates. what do your polls show about the strength of those candidates
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who have announced an even the ones who have not announced. guest: obama is not in the best position now and we will see how that changes over the next few months. it may be that the republican field is weak. in terms of a general election, met romney is their strongest opponent. obama is about even or a little higher. higher. some of the other republicans like michelle bachmann and sarah palin if she were to run, would get thrashed and they are not in a position to take things on. they are not well known but their positions are so far out of the mainstream when you look at sarah palin are michelle bachmann. i don't they are electable.
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maybe tim pawlenti is flexible but he is struggling with the republican primary to keep -- to catch fire. you have rick perry and he will be an intriguing candidate for the republicans. host: joe, democratic caller, north carolina, good morning. caller: president obama is right on track how to end the debt that people don't understand what is going on. our dollar is something we value like the japanese changed their value of the yen. that makes it cheaper to buy japanese goods. if obama could make it where minimum wage could hit $7.50 per hour, our money would be worth more. if we give these other countries were split dollars, we'd save huge amounts of money
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and never borrow from them again. obama has the answers. republicans got us into world war two everything. republicans have done this bad stuff. let obama stay our president until his life is over. guest: that is an interesting perspective. host: let's look at a comment on twitter -- guest: that's true, in the last week, you have seen david brooks and the economist magazine criticized the republican party for their total unwillingness to talk about tax increases. ronald reagan is their standard bearer and the one they want to follow, he managed the largest tax increase in american history and it helped.
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they will -- this will end up hurting the republicans. independent voters are seeing this and seeing a party that is the hold and the tea party element. they are not willing to take themselves seriously about issues and they are moving too far to the right for independent voters and it will burn them. host: also this comment on twitter -- what do you think about that? guest: a centrist chances in republican primary is difficult. i think that is the problem with met romney. met romney. h mitt romney. look at what happened in delaware in the senate primary where christy know donald beat her opponents. -- mcdonald -- kristine o'donnell.
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mitt romney will probably win new hampshire but he will probably lose a whole -- iowa. there are voters that come out and the republican primary that will not like him so he will struggle. in the general election, centrists can be elected but it is tough for senators to win. host: he is talking about the general election. guest: i think voters want someone close to the center in a general election. to geneva, new york, on our independent line, good morning. caller: good morning, 3/4 of the american people don't want to raise -- they do want to raise taxes on the wealthy.
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if three-quarters of the american people want something, where is the democracy? 70% of the people objected to reckon we went in and day out. why aren't our leaders respecting with the people want? respecting with the people want? guest: that is a great question. i am not a political economist. i think it is a problem with our system. you have leaders in congress who are beholden to their own base. but it is true in both parties, particularly the republican party, that those leaders are willing to ignore the desires of the american people because they are more beholden to the extreme elements of their own party. john boehner has to worry about a potential challenge from eric cantor. i think -- he is a deal maker
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and wants to cut a deal but he is under such intense pressure on the right wing of their party to hold that line on taxes no matter what which is ridiculous, in my opinion. we saw this morning and last night that he buckled to pressure and that is unfortunate. host: new haven, conn., good morning. turn down your television and go ahead. caller: he is talking about the electability of the republican candidate for president. what about the electability of president obama? guest: so much will depend on the economy. we will see what happens over the next year or so. if the economy starts to improve, that will improve his chances. if it does not and we see continuing job reports like we saw last week, he will have real difficulties. he is in a position where if
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the local election were today, he would be reelected. we could see an environment where he wins easily or an environment where things are much worse and he is soundly defeated. if he can find his footing on the economic message, that will help. taking action on the deficit and the debt and action on the economy will improve his standing spree in the end, it comes down to who the republicans nominate and how the election gets framed. republicans will want to plan this as a referendum on obama and the economy. democrats want to from a as a choice between economic priorities. democrats want to make it about the paul ryan plan and ending medicare and prairies they have which includes cutting medicare
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and preventing tax cuts for the oil corporations. democrats want cutting spending but they still want to invest in clean energy. obama can make that choice in the election. if he allows the republicans to make a referendum on the economy and where we stand, he will have more difficulty. host:andrew bowman is a democratic pollster. you also pulled the rising american electorate. that group consists of unmarried women, voters of color, and younger voters. you have a poll showing that the obama support has dipped among those voters. guest: i think these voters are
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the solution because of the continuing performance of the economy and what they perceive as a president not necessarily addressing or talking to the issues that face the front and center. these voters will vote democratic in the end in big numbers. the question is how many will the question is how many will turn out and what will be the margins? in 20008, the gap between 2008 and 2010 was enormous in terms of the age of the electorate. seniors turned out more than ever before. democrats need these voters to be engaged and excited. they want to recreate the coalition that elected obama. they're not ready to defect a large numbers but they are not
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where they were. host: let's look at this chart that shows in 2008, 69% of his group supported obama and 30 percent sign not. in 2012, the poll asked people if you were to vote today, the numbers are more in the mitt romney favre. guest: that's still an overwhelming number for obama. it is also the turnout of these voters. present obama is close to independent voters. they are important. he cannot take his eye off the ball at the base. it is important to get them motivated and bring the margin back up. host: when minority leader nancy pelosi kim hammond said they don't want entitlement programs on the table, who was she
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appealing to? guest: i think she is appealing to everybody. voters do not want social security and medicare cuts. they want to see spending cuts. 70 percent said they don't want to deal with it. president obama and minority leader nancy pelosi have different constituents and different goals. president obama -- he is acting -- he is seeking something beyond politics. he wants to get this grand bargain because it thinks it is important for the country and i agree with that. that may need -- that may mean
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that we need to have a streamlining of entitlements. that is not what democrats need right now and speaker nancy pelosi, because it's within our party believe in social security. -- constituents in our party believe in social security. if democrats can counter republicans, they will have success. host: a survey that your firm did shows a new poll that three out of every four americans oppose such measures of cutting home health care cuts.
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when we look at the alternatives of budget cuts versus taking care of home health, there's not much of the faber ability to that. guest: i am not as familiar with that service. that is generally what happens. when you get into details, everybody wants to cut spending but they don't want to cut anything that has to be caught. voters really believe that there is $4 trillion worth of waste out there. they think if we cut that we will be fine. will be fine. to get real spending cuts, you will have to cut real government programs and most of them are ones that voters don't want to see go. host: let me read this release --
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host: a comment from twitter. guest: that is true. the bigger issue is those democrats sitting on their hands and not turning out. host: donald, a democratic collar. caller: [unintelligible] they talk about do not do anything. are you hearing me? think thedon't
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stimulus money has done anything. caller: the stimulus money that the president gave did not work. hear what i'm saying right now. hear what i'm saying right now. this could produce the projects that those monies went into. it was spent for employing people and doing things like that. host: whether or not it was spent reductive -- productively. what can the president point to to say that it was a success? guest: it is tough. he can point to economists that agree with him. but it is difficult to sell voters on an argument like that. that is his frustration. i do not think there is anything he can point to until
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you see the economy getting better. they will not feel that this stimulus was effective. host: tom, a republican co aller. caller: i don't put a lot of trust and pollsters. and not being derogatory toward your guest, but you can swing in the poll anyway did you want. i am a republican from illinois. we have had really great success for all of our governors and statesman. know if you look at things, nancy pelosi, when she ran the -- rammed the health care deal done everyone's road, -- for wrote, -- throat, alice
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california doing economically? halas harry reid's state of nevada? big oil companies, they make 7 cents a gallon profit. the states and the federal government make anywhere from 43 cents to 78 cents profit on taxes from that same gallon of gas. what do they do with all the money? guest: if we want to talk about big oil subsidies, we win that debate hands down with people. exxonmobil paid $0 in taxes and they made record profits. we are giving them $6 billion a year. if you want to talk about wasteful spending, that is wasteful spending. republicans want to call that
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tax increase. i call wasteful spending. most voters agree with me. i'll love to talk about that and have that debate from now until 2012. host: coming to us from twitter. there is a new majority. guest: the redistricting impact is very important. the republicans control more states than did democrats. they could ship the balance of power by 10 to 15 seats in the house. it would make it that much harder to retake the house. but it may not be that much of a net loss for democrats. you see the independent redistricting and california that will help democrats by four or five seats. and florida, there was a a lot
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that republicans are stuck -- trying to block. in the end, i think you'll see republicans gained a couple of seats all in all, but it will not put a huge impact that might have man. -- might have been. you see states like new york and other states losing congressional states whereas taxes picked up several, and now will shift the electoral college in favor of republicans. that will make it slightly harder for obama. he will have a cure electoral votes. if he starts losing states, the marching gets narrower. caller: all like to say that i am concerned that my grandparents came from italy, my father came from italy, mike
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mother was the daughter of an immigrant, and we all became democrats. then the democratic party is changing to only unions or only progressives. that guy that owns the restaurant, who estimate profit of $1 million to pay the 33 taxes that are out of business, but his pay check is only $100,000, but still has to pay that 35% -- another only pays 17 cents and you tell me that the rich are going to pay more. rich are going to pay more. that guy as rich. i am not rich. but i am supposed to be a millionaire. how come the guy with the union badge can get his pension and his health care paid for by the business but i have got to get -- say that my pension and my health care, i have to take it
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as income? guest: i am not qualified to speak to the policy ankles of that. but i am glad that you brought up small businesses. that is an important point. democrats have dug themselves into a hole where voters see them as anti-business. part of this is because they go after some of these corporate tax rates. but there is a big difference between how people perceive small businesses and big corporations. small businesses are some of the most popular things in our polling. big corporations get 25% favorable. it is politically wise to go after the oil corporations and the big banks. they have been getting a break for years. but they need to make sure that they are not paying too broadly
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of russia's anti-business. they want to major that none of the middle-class and working- class people are getting the breaks, but small businesses, too. too. we need to reach out to those important constituents which are important to the middle of the electorate. if democrats can turn that around, it will be a big improvement in 2012 and beyond. host: on twitter. guest: i believe there is a political reality and a policy reality. i believe with minority leader pelosi and most americans that large-scale been that cuts should be off the table. plan, itike the ryan
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is terrible. also terrible politically. if you want to have but $4 trillion granted deficit deal, there will have to be compromising. there probably savings to be found in medicare and medicaid. one of the places that we should be looking is medicare prescription drug programs. we could save $200 billion over the next five or 10 years if medicaid were allowed to negotiate for trips in drug raids. because it was written by the now chief lobbyist for parma, that is not what we do. it is coming out of the pockets of the american tax payers and seniors. seniors. we could help the taxpayer and get rid of a subsidy that we do not have. it is a political winner for democrats.
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he could still save the taxpayers' money. host: peter, a republican caller in germantown, tenn.. caller: for several years i have witnessed this firsthand, the social pathology created by the liberal spending social programs. it's disconcerting when you mention the particular group of unmarried women. since you are a liberal, i am presuming that your prefering to unwed mothers. not needh is, we do nee more illegitimate mothers. it said more instability and unpredictability into the structure of society. we're spending more and more money and you and i are paying for people that behavior
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responsible. i am curious what your response to that would be. host: the rising american electorate, on married women of color. guest: i will not tell us single mother that she is an artificial group. you can go ahead and do that. but we're not talking about unwed mothers. there are a single women. either way, they are all americans facing tough economic times. they deserve the respect that everybody else does. i totally disagree with your assessments and where you're coming from. host: why had you lump them together and why has that group been seen as a key block of the voting electorate?
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guest: they are rising percentage of the american public. years ago they were much lower. when you're talking about the electorate, they are much smaller than the population. if democrats could convince these voters to vote in the percentage of their population, we would win elections going away. those are all democratic-based voters that overwhelmingly support democrats but do not turn out. they turned out more than ever in 2008. it is important to keep those voters in mind. we're missing out on a huge block of political good will there. host: bryan writes on twitter.
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guest: and that is always one of the big dilemmas for politicians of both parties, playing to base and playing to the independen ts. there things apply to both like protection of social security and medicare. but even a plurality of republicans do not want to see so security and medicare cuts. when we talk about the economy, the idea of the progress that we have made, no one is feeling that. it turns off all those groups and we need to come up with better messaging as democrats. host: phoenix, ariz., welcome to the program. caller: as you follow the paper trail and look in that direction, what you have been
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spending on, and cut these things out. leave these entitlements alone. these are important things. we look back to the rest of the world because we are rich nation picking on the most poorest people in the world and taking things from them that they should have. that guy from tennessee mention personal responsibility. they are acting like a bunch of school kids. i really believe that they need to change that and stop acting like they are elite and special. guest: i cannot disagree with that. but you mentioned the government programs that do not work and cut that. we talked about this before. voters out there and rick is an example, they think that we can cut all the spending by cutting out waste. that is not necessarily true. but that does not mean that they're spending out there that cannot be cut.
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democrats did that. one of the things we have been trying to tell our clients and friends is that when we talk about fiscal issues, we want to get to that question of priority, protecting entitlements, but we need to cross the threat -- we want to cross the credibility threshold. we need to measure government programs and eliminate the ones that do not give results. it means getting rid of programs that do not work and focusing on the ones that do. voters want to see that government is working well. if it is not getting the job done, then they need to be cut. and to many think the democrats do not share that view. caller: the other day i was watching the program and they watching the program and they had john paul's s son, from wall
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street. he made a billion dollars last year. they said it would take 184,000 normal working americans to equal what that guy did in one year. year. i cannot see anybody worth that kind of money. it is ridiculous that they want to keep taking from the working people in this country when you have people making money like this. if you did 14 million people back to work paying income taxes and by that taxes, that would help bring these accounts back up to where they might not be in such bad shape. host: al that play out politically? you are in the ohio, a battleground state. caller: i do not know. i am 53 years old. i am pretty disgusted that they
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want to raise the retirement age and everything. i would rather pay more money in fica taxes to protected and leave the age at the same place. why should i have to work until i am 70 years old and basically the work that i'd do, i would never make it there? host: will that be the deciding factor when you go in 2012? are there other issues that are bigger for you? caller: i have a problem with the republicans, the first thing out of their math -- now -- everything will come into it, social security and everything. the first thing that they said when it to cover the house was that they were going to make obama a one-term president. -- guest: talking about henry
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paulson, a former bush administration and member, a wall street executive. voters, even before the financial crisis, in the middle class, the voters felt their own prices. wages have been stagnant for a decade. ceos are making more and more money. that is a huge problem but -- problem politically. your anger is shared by a lot of voters, by myself as well, at this income inequality. democrats would be wise to address that. talking about wage stagnation of the middle class from talking about policies that can help -- middle-class, talking about policy that can help boost jobs at regular americans can fill.
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try to achieve the american dream >> next, a look at how to reduce spending. this is from "washington journal." "q&a." host: bruce cook is head of citizens for restoring america's financial future, joining us this morning. guest: good morning. host: what is your colution? -- solution? guest: it is hard for the average person to get around the numbers. we use an analogy that says the government would like an average family -- they would have taken in $50,000 last yea the
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average median income, they would have put out $80,000, meaning $30,000 on a credit card, already with $200,000 in debt. we acknowledge and begin with the point that we have a problem. the one-cent solutions as we want to reduce total government spending 1 cent out of each dollar for total of six years. we cut spending by seven. from dollars trillion -- cut spending by $7.50 trillion. we reduced the deficit by $3 trillion. we put spending caps each year on the amount of money that has to beeduced and let congress then -- they know the nuances. let them decide how to make the cuts.
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the average family, the average business realizes they have more going out and coming in. they have to make those reduions. that is what the 1-sunn -- one- cent solution does. host: you are getting some support in congress. you have support from a member of the house and the senate. guest: we have had a great response, again, because people understand. congressman connie mack introducedhe bill. we have almost -- we have 44 co- sponsors of the bill. it is called the 1% spending reduction t of 2011. it was introduced in the senate last week by senator enzi from wyoming. people can understand. it has a goal of getting us a balance. when we balance the budget, we will stop producing that. it also provides a process as opposed to a prescription. that process with spending cuts
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is something we think that, in a bipartisan fashion, both sides of the aisle can get together on and moveorward. host: our guest is bruce cook, chairman of citizens for restoring america's financial future. how did you start this organization? guest: it is an interesting journey. i had my first branch out over a year ago, about a yeaand-a- half ago, at a time when theix congressional budget office came out with the tenure forecast and it said that we -- the 10-year forecast that said we were on an unsustainable track. i realized, for my granddaughter, if that happens, we will not be -- she will not have the benefit of the country that i had when i was growing up. when she will be -- she's born, she owes $200,000 in debt for
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unfunded liabilities. that is just not right. i was appointed to chair the departnt of resources several years ago and we discovered that we had a revenue srtfall of $150 million of a $3 billion budget. this provided services, by the way, for public health, mental health, children and family services, a lot of important services in georgia. we found when we put a spinning -- spending cap, we were able to abide services at a lower rate without cuts. people came up with more efficient and effective ways of delivering services. if georgia can cut 5% in one year from a very substantial budget, the thought in our mind was, why cannot washingtono the same thing, and that became the process of putting together the 1-cent solution.
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host: it calls for reducing the federal spending by one penny per dollar of gdp until 2018. that would get to a balanced budget by 2019. it would reduce federal spending by $7.5 million over 10 years and reduce the debt by $3.40 trillion over 10 years. you call yourself "and mr. smith guy who goes to washington -- "a mr. smith guy who goes to washington." guest: that is how i have been feeling. th is an important debate. i do not disparage that. what has been lost is the perspective of the arage person out in the grassroots parts of the country. what we're saying is to do nothing. if we do nothing, we will continue to add that to a point where we will never be able to take care of our debt. we will become a debtor nation,
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never able to get a balance. we're looking to people who will buy into a simple approach that folks can understand. going washington, we were able to find like-minded people. we are a bipartisan organization looking for people on both sides of the aisle who would embra a process of one-cent reduction. a good visual we use in the semirs is that i have 100 pennies. that represents our spending which is $3.60 trillion. each penny is worth $36 billion. we're callingor congress -- every year, take one penny out of this. your reaction is one cent or $36 billion off of the previous year's spending. that is what the average family, the average business would have to do.
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on the income side, we only have 60 pennies coming in, and that forces us to borrow 40 pennies. get to the point where you stop adding debt. get to the point where the revenue balances with spending. ho: roll call reports of our guests, bruce cook, has gotten some traction by presenting his plan -- guest, bruce cook, has gotten some traction by presenting his plan to different groups. you have also taken a second route. u have hired lobbyists, who you have paid $90,000 between january and march, according to the disclosure forms. does it take money to get your message heard these days? guest: oh, yeah. you probably understand that working at c-span. it takes moy to get the message out. we have to work both sides.
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we have the effort on the hill to introduce legislation. we have to have popular support across the country. i think that two-pronged strategy is working. when people on the hill hear from folks back home, they start tibet and gen. they start to line up with a representative government -- they start to listen. they start to line up with a representative of government. >> the whole idea of mr. smith, "mr. smith goes to washington," is that he was the antithesis of that money -- does this change the grass-roots nature of your effort, and this $90,000? guest: basically, this money has come from grass-roots. to be effective arm hill, you have to have people that know their way around. -- to be effective on the hill, you have to have people that
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know their way around. what we're spending is comparatively pittance. we feel we have been effective with the dollars that have come from grass-roots contributions. i feel that is wt you have to do to get the message out. host: a message on twitter. moret in the tel. detail. guest: if you go to the website, you have the opportunity to show your support and make a contribution. we have had different people make contributions. that is how we have from the fund-raisingide so far. host: let's go to a call from matt in the s&l, va., and democrats -- in annandale, virginia, on the democrats'
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line. caller: what i sees a major problem -- i am 28. your generation has not paid for what you have taken. the people before you have not paid for what you have taken. we need to raise taxes now, because your generation has to paso that our generation does not owe money. you can say, cut, cut, cut, but people are poor. we need social security. we have massive unemployment. people are retirg. people love their 401k's. how are we going to be abl to retire? host: let's leave it there and get a response. guest: the safety net is very important to our country. if you and i were running social security as a business, we had a $32 billion shortfall. what came in had to be
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subsidized by $32 billion to pay what was going out. social security, last year, we had a $23 billion shortfall. the worst thing that could happen is to do nothing. if you did notng, -- do nothing, you continue to pay more than what is coming in. the have to get a match with revenue and expenses -- you have to get a match with revenue and expenses. when i travel around and i present this, i ask, under which president did we receive the highest revenue as a% of gdp? president carter, who had a 70%, or president bush, with the 35% tax rate? the answer is the same. over the last 40 years, we collected, on average, only about 18% of gdp. when you get into these debates about raising tax rates, you
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lose sight of the real goal of tax revenue, what comes in. what you find, historically, it is that, no matter what the tax rates, up or down, and i certainly think there is room for reform, we're only, historically, going to collect 18% of gdp. you have to get spendin down to coincide with that number. otherwise, we continue to add debt. if that continues to escalate like the cgressional budget office is predicting, we will not be able to help anybody. host: bruce cook started citizens for restoring america's financial future, promoting the one-cent solution. let's go to patrick on our republican line in florida. caller: ronald reagan tripled the national debt. one thing i would like to point out is that fdic went from
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40,000 to 250,000 over the last 50 years, also-induced financial blowups. one other thing -- i do not know if you follow it -- the state of florida basically let the prescription drug dealers, the pill mills, get all our citizens addicted. now they want federal medicaid programs to get them off the drugs. please talk about fdic. it has gone from $40,000 to 000250,000 -- $250,000 per account. guest: with the one-cent solution, we are providing a process for congress to act.
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they are spending $3.60 trillion. that would be minus $36 billion. they would have to determine where to make those cuts. we have hired the people on the hill to do that job. your public is valuable. there are some programs that need to be -- point is valuable. there are some programs that need to be cut. these kinds of issues would be forced to be dealt with as soon as those caps are in place. they will realize they cannot let these things continue. we believe that is the best process for going forward. host: let's hear from a republican caller, anthony. caller: hello, sir. i think it is wonderful what you're doing. mo people need to get educated. we live in such a math-averse society. my question would be, has it
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been looked at as part of the plant, as far on us -- the plan, as far as the citizens' standpoint, there are products that we can produce in this economy. how will that affect the average citizen, the employment rate? the issue right dell is unemployment -- now is unemplment. has that been encompassed? whether the expanding trade, moving away from this perceived aisolationism -- guest: the only way you'll get more revenue coming in -- assume you have 18% as what you are going to get. 18% of what? gdp. the way we get more money is to
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get the economy growing. that is your point. if you talk to the average business person, i saw headline in the wall street journal. there is still so much uncertainty that it is hard for businesses to make headway long-term. you could provide a base for businesses to operate from. they could say, here's are being planned -- here is our game plan. when you provide certainty, you will start to encourage investment and growth. that is when the trade will increase and that is when you will start to see employment come together. we think t one-cent solution has the capability to provide what business leaders are looking for -- some kind of certainty that would let them get back into investment and adding people. host: what do you think, bruce cook, about the positions that
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republicans are taking as far as the debt limit and taking down spending? we heard the news that hse speaker john boehner has abandoned his push for the $4 trillion cut. it's now in the $2.5 trillion range. what is youreaction? guest: it's got to be a balanced budget. that's the only time we stop adding debt. if we do not get to that poll, very soon, we'll become -- that point, very soon, will become a country with a debt so great that we cannot get out of theit, in terms of the balance. if you do not balance the budget at some point, then we will have to come back and recognize that
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we have a shortfall and we do this again. this again. in the current debate, the administration is basically projecting growth next year of over 04%. our growth right now is averaging about.5%. if the growth does not get up to what the administration is talking about, we will he almost a $4 trillion addition to our debt over the next 10 years. that would make whatever reductions they are talking about pale in comparison. also, our interest rates are exceptionally low. historically, they are about 5.7%. we're getting them now at about 2%-something. if they go back to normal rates, we will add aanother -- another $4 trillion to the debt. the objective means to be to get to balance where we stop
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spending more than we have coming in. host: should there be a debt deal? should there be a vote to raise the debt ceiling? guest: i think raising the debt ceiling have to take place. i think the negotiation between the two site is a healthy -- two sides is a healthy one. that three come in with this solution. if you look at the bill introduced by congressman mack and senator enzi, it provides this cap for spending. ford. ford. host: let's go to mary in south carolina. caller: i have two comments and one question. number one, all the years i have been voting -- i am 65 -- this is the first-time experience with so much confusion that has been put out to the public. we voted these cars people on
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the hill to do a job -- congresspeople on the hill to do a job. i believe they know what to do. it is not that they do not know how to cut things. the other comment i want to say is that, republicans never liked social security, medicaid, or medicare. that is number one. they want to get rid of that. that is a fact. my question to you is, why is it that everybody wants to come up with the solutions when congress knows what to do? it is not that we voted in people that do not know what to do. the whole goal is to bring this country down because president obama is the president of the united states. that is the problem. guest: well, as we started on the one-cent solution -- again, we are a bipartisan
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organization. we work with anybody who is interested in a solution. weeded a survey and we found that three of four -- we did a survey and we found that three of the fr voters, no matter what affiliation, would support a one-cent solution. the reason we found is that it has an element that leads to a balanced budget. do appreciate that the worst thing that could happen to you and others across the country -- -- you appreciate that the worst thing that could happen to you and others across the country, if we cannot add more debt, it will be done to us. we will not have the option of trying to solve and work through our problems. we will be responding to a market that is basically at an interest so high that, at some point, we will basically implode as a government. we have found bipartisan support. people will get behind it. that is, frankly, what we want you to do. go to our web site -- website,
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onecentsolution.org, and learn more about it. we want to let the folks on the hill know that we do not want to do partisan politics anymore. we want to do something that the people want to have done. to get to a point where we stop adding debt. host: mr. cook, this recent story says that no democratic members haven't 0 -- have endorsed the bill at this point. according to the vice president for economic policy at the liberal center for american progress, democratic members are not likely to do so. the 18% cap on spending is just not a good idea. there is just no way you can do it without seriously handicapping programs that are unequivocal the neede what is your response to that? guest: as i said, we are a bipartisan organization. when we started out in the fall, we had an interesting experience with this.
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we went to leaders of both the republican and democratic parties in the house. we got support on the one-cent solution. we were thinking, boy, getting bipartisan support is ey. then we had the election. we went back to them at the beginning of the year and we were found to be in the middle of 2012 politics. 2012 politics means that everybody is now going to their corner of the rain and trying to do what is best for them. -- ring and trying to do what is best for them. we are inviting both sides to come to the center and embrace this. if they do that, that is fine. we're. to move forward with the people who want to support something -- we are going to move forward with the people who want to support something that is best for families across the country. if you visit our website, we have 55 economists who do believe this is a good solution for the country.
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there was a white paper study that showed the efficacy -- this is important. this is a gradual reduction. this is not cataclysmic. you are talking about $36 billion less in spending next year. it is a process that gets us to a bance. when economists look at this across the country, from different points of view and different parties, they say this makes sense. it will help our country. host: bruce cook. he started citizens for restoring america's financial future. you mentioned the details about how to make cuts, how to rein in spending will be left to members of congress. your group is talking about what the size of cuts should be. do you have concerns about what the center for american progress people raised about cut to social programs -- that they might have to get caught because of this goal? guest: you have to begin on the
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premise that, right now, our deficit is $1.15 trillion. as i shared earlier, medicaid, medicare, and social security flow.gative cash somehow, that has got to be addressed. think it should be bipartisan. if we have as an example that i shared earlier where we're putting $30,000 on a credit card that already has a balance of $200,000, you would say, at some point, you have got to stop spending. we want congress to make that determination, look at all the programs, figure out which ones they have got to pare back. again, the worst thing is if they do nothing. there will be a bond trader in hong kong that says, i am no longer going to pay 2.5% for 10-year security. i will need for. -- need 4.something percent.
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the markets will make the determination. our every perscent, mortgage rates will go up, our interest rates on credit car will go up. what do you think that does for the average family? the idea that we can kind of muddle through this thing is not on the table. it is going to be done to us. we have to have a plan that gets in front of these things and is best for the american people -- term. host: let's hear from shirley on the li for independents. caller: one thing the government is ignoring is the fact that our power grid is ready to go down in 10 years or less. great britain is out one year or less.
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if that power system goes down, those systems you have built up will not be able to operate. people wl lose food. stores will lose food. restaurants will lose food. this happened in world war ii when hitler was in power. they rationed power at 3 days a week. you could not keep food in your refrigerator to last. it is my understanding it would take $1 billion to correct this problem. think of the job creation it would create. guest: great point. there are probably a lot of projects like that to be addressed. the fit thing is we have to get a pathway to balance. if we do not do that, we do not
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have money to do anything. your point is to have congress did into the issues, determine priorities. then let them determine the spending that needs to take place for long-term sustainability of our economy, services, and country. host: bruce cook, the tea party has increased your ideas. guest: we are bipartisan. tosuppaccept anyone who wants support this. i was at a big meeting in atlanta. a national group was coming into town to present the problem of our deficit and debt. there were 500 business leaders in the room. they have a great presentation and finished withuestions and answers. a businessman raised his hand and asked what we should do.
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the group did not have anything to offer. we're providing any one with an interest was something to do. a 1e asking them to support cent solution that gives the balance in eight years. we want to enroll 1 million voters to support this and encourage support on the hill. it resonates with them as it does with anyone who is concerned about the problem. we welcome any participation. we are biptisan. we do not have labels. we want tput something out there that will work for the people. host:avid is a republican in biloxi, mississippi. caller: i hope i can articulate this fairly well. it sounds like a of a good common sense ideas, but how do you implement that with a
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congress and president that is bought and paid for by the bankers? good common sense is not going to ram through the house or oval office. how will you implement this when you know there is not common sense there and they will not listen to the people? guest: i appreciate your observation. we showed up in whington in december. by may, congressman connie mack was introducing this bill into the house. we have already gotten almost 45 co-sponsors. we have seen it introduced this past month in the senate. when we get it to folks concerned about solving the problem, this becomes something of interest. i am not quite as cynical.
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i think this is something more members of congress will support. it gets us to balance. that has to be our objective as voters. we want the members of congre to support bills that will give us to balance. that is the only time you stop adding tdebt. st: some folks who align themselves with tea party interests say that we should cut more and do it faster. why are you not advocating for more and quicker cuts? guest: we wanted to make sure the numbers work. we met with leading economists, getting ideas, bouncing things off of eacother. when we came up with the 1 cent solution, one of the goals was to put a plan in place that would not be cataclysmic. it would have a pathway to balance.
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it would get there but not be so significant in the early years that it would cause disruption in the economy. that is what we believe we have. the idea of cutting $36 billion next year off of the $3.6 trillion budget is something congress should be able to do. we would take that route. it is adual but certain. it gets us to balance. we think that is preferable to making more significant cuts. ready tothat is tackle the problem, i will acknowledge them. we have a good dialogue going on about how to solve the debt and deficit. last year, this was not a big conversation. the fact we're talking about it is very positive. host: don in michigan. what do you think about what you are hearing?
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caller: i do not like it. americans have lost their jobs and homes. this talk about reduction, the mississippi republican said the bankers. he does not talk about that. oil has been the reason for three words. this is ridiculous. they take from us and destroy our way of life, the middle class. class. you said it is the deficit. by 2035, we will still have 80% of the money coming in. quit lying about that, please. host: let's get a response from mr. cook.
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don is concerned about bankers and wall street and the freedoms they are experiencing compared to other americans. what do you think about that? guest: the programs that lp the people in need the most are netive cash flowing. they cannot continue to operate that way. something has tchange. we want congress to change the programs so they are sustainable long-term. if we do not make the changes, we have less money coming in to help people in need. it is the old idea of making sure the funds get to the people in need and do not get put off to other areas. we come back to the revenue debate. we're only going to be able to collect 18% long-term of the gdp as revenue.
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to be strong as a country and be able to meet the needs of people who have these concerns and nee, we have to have an ability to use our finances in those directions. we can only do that when we stop borrowing money and adding to our debt. in two or three years, it is projected our interest payments alone will exceed our defense budget of $500 billion. think about it. those interest payments could be used to meet the needs in our country. whe are they going? they are going to pay interest on that we are accumulating. we all know that in our personal lives. if you add more debt, the inrest payments consume you. the only way we can get to the point where we can meet needs, we have to stop adding debt and the interest payments down so
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more funds are available to do what we need to do as a country. host: citizens for restoring america's financial future is advocating for the 1 cent solution. he was a board member at the department of community health and is a member of the commission for a new georgia. he was also the founder of choosing the best publishing. jeff writes it is not the math that is difficult. it is identifying the cuts and plementing them. guest: he put his finger on the distinction of our bill. the debate going on now is a prescription for reduction. it is done in sound bites. it is politicized. it is fitting into the 2012 elections. we believe these discussions
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have to be thoughtful. we have hired congress to do that. that is what they arthere for. we want to put in place a process that forces them to do their job. we do not have the time or expertise to delve into those issues. we are providing a process that gets the prescription of how to do that in the hands of congress who we have elected to do that for us. host: will is an independent scholar in maryland. caller: you were right on, sir. i am dismayed by my fellow americans who do not get it. you do not have to be a visionary to see there is a tremendous problem on the horizon. these people call in, are
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another example of class warfare that peopltry to throw into every argument. it is the spending issue. it is not complicated. as soon as you say the tea party or liberals like something or not, it is another example of the class warfare we see all around us. congress will figure out how to make it happen. this snds like a totally workable idea. it is not immediate. it will not be devastating this year or next year. the you have to get a long-range plan and stay with it. -- but you have to get a long- range plan and stay with it. thank you. guest: go to onecentsolution.com. if you think it makes sense, the petition. when the people on the hill here
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from enough people, they start to catch on. host: how many folks have signed the petition at this point? guest: we have over 2000 facebook "likes." we're going city to city. we're looking for 100 captains in each city that will sign up 50 people. we just want to in atlanta. we have almost 100 captains' down. we are in chattanooga. i think we have seven captains. -- 70 captains. as theapin's work, we anticipate others will come in. we're doing a social media campaign where we're looking for 5000 for each city. we're targeting 25 cities this year. we're targeting 75 cities in 2012. that will give us 100 cities with 10,000 people. we're just getting underway.
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we encourage callers to visit the website and join in if they want to be a community captain. there's a place to sign up for that. we think it is a chance to cross pay lines and work for a solution. host: jan is a republican from colorado. caller: it sounds pretty good. we have found the devil is always in the details. 18% of gdp, i do not know about that. i would like to look into that further. he does not talk about what he will cut. we have a lot of corporate welfare we need to take care of. we need to talk about some revenues. i like his ideas, but he seems to be avoiding the issue of bringing in revenue. we know people in the 35% bracket do not pay those taxes.
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people always discuss the larger tax brackets, but those people are hiring tax lawyers to make sure they do not pay that. host: what do you think about his comment that it is up to congress to work out the details? caller: that is the problem right there. a lot of people we send to congress are not doing what we asked them to do. host: what do you think about that? guest: a great question from the caller. in the bill, we give congress the opportunity to make their cut. thepending cap is introduced. next year, the government spends 1% less than last year. at the end of the fiscal year, they only come up with cuts for $20 billion. that is $16 billion that is not cut. in the bill, there is a sequestration is an across-the-
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board cut to get to the cat. you do not want to do that. some programs need to be eliminated. some need to be left alone. some need to be increased. we want congress to do their job. if they do not, there would be an automatic cut that comes in and keeps us on target with the spending cap. unless you have teeth in the bill, your point is very valid. congress may not do their job. we want them to do their job. if they do not, there is part of the bill that says we will end up with the cut. here is what i have experienced firsthand. when i was board chairman of the department of human resources, we have to make those cuts. with everybody ithe room together with knowledge, these people started identifying ways they could make the cuts. that is what we expect congress to do. they will hold hearings and
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figure out how to do that in the best way they know. we found that the state level that we did not lose any services as a result. there were so many inefficiencies. there was a report in the paper about how many inefficiencies are in the spending programs today. you will never get them out until you put the cap in place that forces people to try to do more with less. you know that from your own experiences in your household and business. you start looking for creative ways to pull it off. that is the process we want to create in congress. host: bruce cook, citizens for restoring america's financial future. the website is
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>> tomorrow, adam green talks about the campaign to get one had 75,000 people to not donate or volunteer for president obama if the changes social security, medicare, and medicaid. erik wasson will talk about the pending trade agreement. "washington journal" is live at 7:00 a.m. eastern on c-span. the meeting at the white house wrapped up earlier as president obama met with congressional leaders for about one hour and 15 minutes to talk about the deficit reduction plan. the white house put forward a package of $4 trillion in cuts. late last night, house speaker john boehner said republicans
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would not accept the plan that includes tax increases. they want to use the plan that includes about $$2 trillion in cuts. earlier today, the leader of the republicans in the senate, mitch mcconnell, echoed his remarks. he said raising taxes is a bad idea, especially in today's weak economy. the debt reduction plan has been tied to allowing the nation's debt ceiling to be raised. the deadline for that is august 2 when the government will go into default. two of the president's top advisers say will continue to push for his plan. they said the president going into the meetings wanted a deal that combined spending cuts, entitlement reforms, and tax increases. you can follow continuing coverage of the debt talks this evening on the

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